On 6 October 2018, the 48th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-48) approved the ‘Special report global warming of 1.5°C (SR15)’ in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement in 2015, the IPCC was invited to produce a report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that they would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. This special report will be a key scientific input into the Katowice climate change conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.
The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided or lessened by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90% with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99%) would be lost with 2°C.
The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be.
This is the first in a series of special reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment cycle. Next year they will release the ‘Special report on the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate (SROCC)’ and the ‘Special report on climate change and land (SRCCL)’.
The report is available on the IPCC website